If I keep Ubuntu 13.04 (even after the next version is released), will I be able to update to the newest versions of programs like Firefox, Skype, etc.?
Even with 12.04 or newer, you sill can update the kernel itself.
The newest kernel is 3.133
$ su -
# cd /root/3.11kernel
# wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.11-saucy/linux-headers-3.11.0-031100-generic_3.11.0-031100.201309021735_i386.deb
# wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.11-saucy/linux-headers-3.11.0-031100_3.11.0-031100.201309021735_all.deb
# wget http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.11-saucy/linux-image-3.11.0-031100-generic_3.11.0-031100.201309021735_i386.deb
Check out this chart:
As you can see, 13.04 will keep getting updates until January of 2014. If you want longer support, you can check out Ubuntu 12.04, an LTS release. This version of Ubuntu will see updates through April 2017.
yes, you can. i have been using 12.10 and still have the latest versions of firefox and some other softwares but you might not able to upgrade ubuntu's native applications like software centre and such.
You will still get updates until 13.04 reaches end-of-life. Ubuntu supports its releases for 9 months, so EOL for 13.04 will be in January 2014. The LTS releases are supported for 5 years, so the last LTS release (12.04) will be supported until April 2017.
In the past, normal releases used to be supported for 18 months, desktops for 3 years, and servers for 5 years. Because of this change, if you want to have the latest features, you should keep upgrading to the latest release. If you want the most stable and best supported version of Ubuntu, you should stick with LTS releases only.
some applications do follow linux development so you will be served with the latest version others well take some time...
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